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Hurricanes' Laumape getting used to role

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 13/03/2017

Hurricanes midfielder Ngani Laumape believes being in better shape and doing his homework means he's having to rely less on "freestyling" in his second Super Rugby season.

After 30 NRL appearances for the Warriors, Laumape switched back to rugby union, the sport he starred at during his Palmerston North Boys High days.

The 23-year-old second five-eighth feels he now has a much better feel for the game than when he made his debut for the Hurricanes.

He admits that, 12 months ago, he probably didn't know where he was supposed to be on the football field.

"I feel like last year I was just freestyling a little bit," he said.

"But his year, I'm doing my homework, talking with the boys and I'm really starting to enjoy my rugby now."

Laumape said the input from the coaching staff and from the likes of halfback TJ Perenara, first five Beauden Barrett and centre Matt Proctor had helped.

So too had better physical preparation.

"First of all, I just had to come in in better shape than I did last year," he said.

"That helped a lot, and I'm just being around TJ, Beaudy and Matty Proctor and getting to know the role a lot better."

While Laumape is wearing the No.12 jersey that was once the preserve of All Blacks centurion Ma'a Nonu, and has a similar explosive running game, he played down any comparisons .

"I idolised him when I was at school," Laumape said of Nonu.

"I used to watch him and talk about him. I don't think anyone will come close to Ma'a. I think he's on his own level."

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